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Monday 22 April 2013

Cleo Magazine New Look: Miranda Kerr Cover - FIRST LOOK + interview with Sharri Markson

Cleo magazine is a publishing phenomenon. The magazine, which provacatively burst onto the Australian magazine scene 40 years ago, has had its most extreme of makeovers... and she's a real Aussie beauty! This just in: the cover star for the newly redesigned issue, featuring Miranda Kerr:

Under the editorship of new editor Sharri Markson - who has twice won the Walkley Award for Young Journalist of the Year Award, was news editor at Channel 7 Sydney, chief of staff at the Sunday Telegraph, political writer in Canberra's press gallery for the same newspaper, and has worked at The Sun, and the New York Post - the magazine intends to make a huge impact on the magazine market.

In an interview with Sharri for Josie's Juice, I asked her what it meant to head the redesign and relaunch of such an Australian institution:

Sharri: "I feel completely honoured to be editor of Cleo; it's amazing and I am really proud of the re-launch, I think the magazine is beautiful, we've definitely overhauled it and improved it. It's a really great mag. It's the best young women's mag out there at the moment and I just can't wait for the readers to buy it and get stuck in."

Josie: To stand out in this digital age you need to really shake things up to flourish in the hard copy magazine market, and that's clearly what you've done, yes?

Sharri: "Yes, it's completely different. And look, girls do love magazines. The research shows us that they love magazines and it's true, you're not going to go to the beach and sit down with an iPad; you know, you're not going to get on a plane without a magazine. They still have a really big place in the hearts of girls across the country, so it's just about providing an amazing magazine that they really want to read.

Josie: There's nothing like holding a fresh new magazine in your hand, and just devouring every page!

Sharri: "Yes! Absolutely!"

What have Cleo stalwarts Ita Buttrose and Lisa Wilkinson said about its new direction?

Sharri: "They've been hugely supportive. On my first day at Cleo, there was a beautiful note from Lisa Wilkinson just saying how happy she was during her time here and wishing me the best of luck, and just telling me if there was anything at all I needed, to call her. She's been really supportive.

Ita rang me when I got the job and gave me a bit of a warning and said, 'Make sure you look after MY magazine!' But she's been supportive and has spoken out publicly to say that she really thinks the new direction we're taking the magazine in is a good one. She wants the mag to be a success and she agrees that it's become too superficial and too fluffy in recent years so she thinks taking it back to its provocative roots and giving it some depth will work, because girls are so smart today. And even Mia Freedman has backed its new direction... it's great."

Josie: The new version of Cleo has no 'sex' coverlines... and that's a really big deal. Did you grapple with that? Did you welcome that?

Sharri: "It was a huge discussion internally, and in the company as well. I mean, we saw the research, and we saw that girls were more conservative than they'd been previously, more of them were living at home; they didn't want to wear sex as a badge. You know, it's just not cool to  walk around with a magazine that has sex on the front of it. And so, we had long discussions about it over the months, and decided that it was the right thing to do to have as our key pillars: beauty, fashion, social issues. And of course there's still sex content in the magazine, but it's just not the main pillar, and we're not going to use it as the main selling point on the front cover.

Josie: If there is one thing you hope any woman picking up the new Cleo gets from the magazine, what would it be?

Sharri: "I hope that the readers pick it up, fall in love with it, sit down, read it for a couple of hours, come back to it, dip in and out of it. I just hope that they love it, and that they find it a really satisfying and fulfilling experience. And it's interactive now, too. Every single page has a point of interaction. So, the Miranda Kerr interview has a video that goes with it. There's an eight minute supermodel workout in the Cleo 'Body' section, and instead of just reading the pages, you can instantly watch it on your mobile phone, do the exercise with your mobile phone, or do it online, with the trainer [James Duigan]... and it only take eight minutes! In the beauty section, we look at how to apply false lashes and there's a video, so you can watch it online or on your mobile. We've got a beauty app that's coming as well. So the whole magazine is interactive; it's not just the print product."

"Anna Quinn is the new publisher of all the young women's lifestyle titles here at Bauer and she has made sure that the whole team, not just editorial, is really on board with the new direction. The whole team has invested in this relaunch. Marne Schwartz is the head of new media at Bauer and he's created a beauty app. We've had creative director Carolyn Innis involved making the amazing new television ad and the brand ad. Anna's made sure that every single aspect of Bauer is so exciting. Everyone is so excited about the Cleo relaunch, I can't even tell you! Everyone is pumped about it."

People in the industry know about your father - Max Markson - and his PR background. Do you think it's a boost for who you are and what you do? That it has helped you understand and know the industry inside out, having grown up around it and seen it?

Shari: "I guess I grew up with PR, so that made me never, ever, ever, ever, ever want to be involved in PR! I am very committed to journalism and investigating stories and telling the truth and again, I am a purist. It's all about perspective, it's all about balance and it's all about uncovering the truth. And it's about journalism and it's about providing for your readers - or your audience, or your viewers when I was at the Sunday Telegraph and Channel 7 and now Cleo - and providing a service for our audience. And investigate stories for them; I believe that really strongly, so I think that's what's been of help here, rather than having an expertise in fashion or beauty, per se."

Exciting times! Here is the new Cleo magazine logo :

Cleo magazine burst onto the scene in 1972, and its provocative cover stories had people talking immediately. The first issue sold out quick smart - and the new issue, on sale today tackling issues that matter to young girls. And for the first time, there is no big sex-sell on the cover.

Bauer Media/Cleo magazine commissioned Sweeney Research to undertake the biggest study into young women in the last decade.

1500 girls aged 14-26 were interviewed nationally over a three-month period, with video diaries and focus groups conducted.

Exclusive results from the study found:
  • 69% per cent are living at home with their parents.
  • 41% of total respondents have not had sex.
  • Only 7% per cent have had a one-night stand in the past six months.
  • Drug, alcohol and cigarette use is down since 2010 (drugs were 16% in 2010, now 2%; alcohol was 73%, now 61%; cigarettes were 24%, now 14%) while consumption of fast food has risen 4% since 2010.
  • The GFC has affected them – they care about saving money just as much as having fun, and 97% want to buy a property by the time they’re 27 years old.
  • 66% per cent are single.
  • 55% per cent say their parents are a major influence on their life.
The new coverlines and content inside the mag echo its new direction:

THE GREAT CLOTHES RIP-OFF: Zara and Topshop are charging Australian shoppers up to 45 per cent more than girls in the UK and US for the exact same dresses, a Cleo investigation has found. The clothing giants admit to the price difference but blame high Aussie rents, wages and transport costs.

KELLY OSBOURNE, in her exclusive column, talks about why “life is just shit sometimes”. “It sometimes feels like it just never f*cking ends. But all of life’s curve balls have taught me something: there is no point wallowing in your own self-pity. Not for one second do I think I’m the only person in the world going through this shit. If I did, I’d just be an ignorant asshole. There are millions of people going through this stuff, and I want them to know they are not alone.”

30% OF GIRLS AT UNI SAY THEY’VE HAD NON-CONSENSUAL SEX: Cleo’s exclusive access to the new National Union of Students (MNUS) survey shows that 30% of girls say they have had sex when they were unable to give consent and 68% have had an unwanted sexual experience, yet only 3.1% reported the incident to their uni and only 2.6% to the police. After Cleo reporters uncovered harassment and appalling treatment of girls at O-Week, there are calls, by Today and 2GB host Ben Fordham and model Nikki Phillips, for harsher penalties for the male bullies and booze bans.

WOMEN ON THE PILL ARE MORE ATTRACTED TO PRETTY BOYS: Taking the Pill changes the type of man a women prefers, according to brand new research by Dr Craig Roberts, psychologist at Scotland’s Stirling University. The 2013 research, out now in the new edition of Cleo, shows women who take the Pill are attracted to less masculine-looking men as partners than women who aren’t taking the oral contraceptive. Sharri Markson, editor of Cleo, says clearly it’s not all chiselled abs, macho men and cheeky smiles that make our knees go weak. 

HOW MANY JOBS DOES IT TAKE TO FIND THE ONE? Girls in their twenties switch jobs on average FIVE times, new data shows. Recruitment agencies say it’s not the black mark it once was as it builds different skill sets.

KEPT AS A SLAVE IN WESTERN SYDNEY:  Aisha, now 24, tells Cleo she was kept as a slave in western Sydney after she was forced into marrying a ‘brute’ against her will. Minister Pru Goward estimates there are around 1,000 of these cases a year across Australia.  
Forced marriages are not to be confused with arranged marriages, says Professor Jennifer Burn, director of Anti­-Slavery Australia. Forced marriages are entered into without the consent of one or both parties and take place due to duress, coercion or fraud. 


Geordie Whore: Geordie Shore’s Gary Beadle has slept with over 300 girls but reveals he wouldn’t marry a girl unless she had slept with less than 10 men.

Lisa Wilkinson, Today host and former Cleo editor, still feels guilt about bringing awareness to bulimia. In 1982, no magazine had touched on the issue and Cleo ran a feature. “I struggle with how many girls that feature helped and how many would have read it and thought, ‘Wow, that’s a great way to lose weight’.”

Pube-hurty blues:  Cleo columnist Jess Rudd [yes, Kevin's daughter, and an author in her own right] asks how bikini hair became the new underarm hair. 

Here is behind the scenes Miranda Kerr vid:

Says Sharri: "The Miranda interview is really fantastic. She does for the first time reveal that there have been challenges in her relationship with Orlando Bloom, and she's never spoken about that before. Plus, she talks about modelling no longer being her top priority. But it's her relationship with her husband she has never spoken about before, and we have that in this edition of Cleo."

Here are the first two pages of the Miranda interview in the mag [grab your copy of Cleo to read the full interview... it's a meaty one]:

The new edition of Cleo is on sale today. Grab your copy quick!

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